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May 16, 2012 at 8:03 am
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On Saturday, I raced the Jersey Shore Multisport race, Kick Off in Tom’s River, NJ. I did this race last year in hopes of qualifying for Nationals. I went back again this year with the same goal in mind. The weather on race morning was perfect, low 50’s with a sky full of sunshine and calm winds and waters. Despite my nerves, there was little pre-race stress. In part this is attributed to the race director’s skills and the small field of 175+. Ten minutes before the race start I waded into the 64 degree water, to get accustomed to the temperature. The males started promptly at 6:50 AM with the women starting 3:30 later. The size of the women’s field was considerably smaller than the men’s. From the start, three or four pink caps were ahead of me. It was smooth sailing through the swim.
Into T1, I had to remember to look for my new white bike. When I did my pre-race walk through, I was scanning racks for my red Trek. Funny, I’d spent 10 years coming into transition looking for that bike. Now I needed to remember to look for my white Cannondale Slice. Grabbing my new bike, I dashed out of the transition area, hearing from a spectator that I was the fourth heading onto the bike. The bike is a pancake flat, out and back course with three right hand turns. I felt solid on the bike.
On the run, since it was an out and back course, Ken gave me the update that I was in third. At the turn around, I saw first with a very clear lead, second in her blue kit, was possible to catch and fourth, in her yellow tri top, was coming in quick. The last 1.7 miles were going to be interesting. The girl in yellow came up and passed me, I stayed on her hip for a few hundred yards, but I just couldn’t match her pace. Fortunately the age on her calf revealed she was not in my age group. Now I was in fourth with the girl in blue in view and I was gaining ground. With about a quarter mile to go I caught up to her, saw that she was also not in my age group, and felt a sense of relief. My next thought was, whoever crossed the line next was third place. Summoning every bit of mental toughness and mantras, I surged ahead and crossed the line in third, missing second by one minute, but getting third by ten seconds! After some post race smiles, I anxiously scanned the crowd for the women in the gray kit, who won the race. Oh happy day, her calf displayed the lovely number 41! I was in! I got my spot! Nationals in Burlington here I come. It is wonderful to know now in May that I have my spot. I can now map out the next 13 weeks of training to peak at Nationals. It’s gonna be a wonderful weekend!
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